Testing the waters

Due to recent ASUPS support, the Puget Sound Sailing Team is now able to enjoy the use of several new boats out on the waters of Gig Harbor.

This is the group’s fifth year as a club, but only their first of practicing for competition in regional conferences in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.

Students are now able to sail in Gig Harbor because of a recent partnership with the Gig Harbor Yacht Club, which has allowed all of the roughly 25 Puget Sound students in the club to use their facilities at minimal cost.

Co-president of the Sailing Club and university senior Mike Knape is very excited by the support generated by the community after two years of the club’s hard work to get access to Gig Harbor.
“It’s really cool to see the sailing community come together, because we’re the only team at the collegiate level in the area.  Being out there and representing Puget Sound and having the local community support us in that is just great.”

Most of the members of the Yacht Club are older Tacomans, and Knape jokes that in e-mails they refer to club members as “whippersnappers.”

A good portion of the students involved in the club have sailing backgrounds.  Co-presidents Knape and Ellen Ytterberg are no exceptions.

Knape lived on a boat until he was eight years old, and Ytterberg has been sailing for a few years.  Some students in the club will even be teaching sailing through summer positions.
Still, the club stresses that if students are interested in learning how to sail, that that is exactly the sort of thing they can do with the club.

The club has plans to offer sailing lessons to the interested students at a nominal fee, giving the campus community the opportunity to learn from both club members and seasoned professionals at Gig Harbor.

While Puget Sound students have been able to learn the ins and outs of sailing in years past through the sailing class taught by faculty member Mike Rice, Knape says that the sailing club offers a more intimate experience on the water, as the sailing course focuses on piloting small keel boats – the new boats purchased by the club are small dinghies that carry 1-2 people.

Additionally, as Gig Harbor is about 15 minutes from campus, Knape says it has been easy for students to work sailing into their busy schedules.

Club members have the opportunity to sail over weekends all along the western coast, near Oregon, British Columbia, and the greater majority of Western Washington.
The club meets Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 3-5pm.  Any students interested in participating in the club should e-mail to get started.